April 11

24 Colorful Freshwater Fish – A Guide To Care for Them

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It is a thrilling task as a hobbyist to brighten up your aquarium with colorful and attractive fish. Fish enthusiasts are always looking for cute fish to grace their freshwater aquarium.

This makes your aquarium soothing to the eyes and gives it a rainbow outlook.

To your surprise, there are multiple types of fish that are picture-perfect for your aquarium. We have researched colorful freshwater fish and narrowed down some varieties for you that are compatible with the aquarium.

So, let’s find out the wide range of the most extraordinary freshwater fish for all aquarium types and sizes!

The Coolest and Colorful Freshwater Fish for Your Aquarium

Colorful-Freshwater

There is a common misconception that freshwater fish are monotonous and not vibrant. However, we have tremendous diversity in freshwater, and you can choose your favorite one according to your preference.

1. Dwarf Gourami (Trichogaster lalius)

The gourami fish are available in different varieties that captivate fish enthusiasts. They are generally known as active and playful fish.

Moreover, it is effortless to take care of them. Their habitat is the lakes and streams of South Asia, including India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

The dwarf gouramis are available in a plethora of colors that include numerous blue shades. You can get them in powdered blue, neon blue, and metallic blue with bright orange stripes.

However, the flame dwarfs have a deep blue color that transits into a flame-red at their tail.

They, in essence, have an oval-shaped body and are incredibly peaceful. However, if you plan to keep a male dwarf gourami fish, you must take care of the ratio.

As males can express aggression towards each other, you can keep one male and four female fish in a group of five.

Average size: 3-3.5 inches

Tank Size: 10 gallons (38 liters)

Care level: Intermediate


    Compatibility: Keep in a peaceful community

    2. Electric Blue Hap (Sciaenochromis fryeri)

    The electric blue hap is the bluest African Cichlid that does not give away its color in the presence of the dominant fish. The male blue hap has remarkable sapphire blue scales, whereas the female blue hap is gray-silver in tone. The beautiful color has made them popular among aquarium enthusiasts.

    The electrical blue hap fish have a long cylindrical body with a forked tail. Because they are active fish they will stand out in your aquarium.

    However, you can only keep one male blue hap in your aquarium. The aquarium must have an environment closer to its natural habitat with piles of rocks, plants, and sandy substrate.   

    Average size: 6-7.9 inches

    Tank Size: 55 gallons (210 liters)

    Care level: Intermediate

    Compatibility: Compatible with other species; however, you must keep one blue hap in a tank.

    3. Flowerhorn Cichlid (Man-Made Hybrid)

    Flowerhorn Cichlids are a crossbred human-made species developed in the Far East. The peculiar colors of this breed make it my personal favorite as they cover the shades of red, orange, and occasionally blue.

    The large lump on their head called a nuchal hap gives an extravagant outlook to your aquarium and makes them stand out. 

    If you plan to keep this fish in your tank, it is essential for you to know about their aggressive nature. Therefore, I will recommend you to keep it all alone.

    If you want to keep it with other big and aggressive fish, ensure that your tank has good hiding spots. 

    Average size: 12-16 inches

    Tank Size: 75 gallons (210 liters)

    Care level: Intermediate

    Compatibility: Keep it singly

    4. German Blue Ram (Mikrogeophagus Ramirezi)

    German Blue Ram Cichlids are peace-loving and social fish, featuring a yellowish-orange color body and fluorescent blue spots on their tails, fins, and abdomen.

    Their standout characteristic is their red eyes and black stripes running through them.

    When you add these blue rams to your freshwater tank, you will need to add hiding spots and plants in the tank. You will need to acquire some experience in keeping this fish.

    They are sensitive to poor water parameters. Therefore, you will have to change the water regularly.

    Average size: 2-3 inches

    Tank Size: 30 gallons (113 liters)

    Care level: Expert

    Compatibility: Exceptionally social

    5. Jack Dempsey Cichlid (Rocio Octofasciata)

    Jack Dempsey fish are alluring fish with oval-shaped bodies and rounded tails. They feature a blend of various colors ranging from pink to electric blue and then finally to almost black. The mesmerizing ability to flash brightly due to greenish-blue spots makes them stand out in the tank. 

    Talking about their temperament, they are aggressive fish that will get into a fight with any fish. Therefore, I will recommend you to keep them with large fish. 

    Average size: 10-15 inches

    Tank Size: 55 gallons (210 liters)

    Care level: Intermediate

    Compatibility: Compatible with large fish

    6. Paradise Fish (Macropodus Opercularis)

    Paradise fish will attract every aquarium enthusiast due to their vibrant orange and blue color. However, the downside is that they are incredibly aggressive.

    They display hostile behavior and kill small fish in the water tank. However, the distinctive feature is changing their color during a fight and extending their fins. 

    Thus, to maintain the peaceful environment of the water tank, it is vital to balance the ratio. The aquarist can keep it with a group of 4-5 female fish, and no other aggressive fish should enter the community.

    Other than that, the freshwater tank must have lots of plants in it. 

    Average size: 2.4-4 inches

    Tank Size: 20 gallons (75 liters)

    Care level: Intermediate

    Compatibility: Not compatible with male gouramis

    7. Boesemani Rainbow (Melanotaenia Boesemani)

    The Boesemanis’ distinct coloration makes them different from other rainbow fish. They feature metallic bluish-gray color at their head and a vibrant orangish-yellow at their tail. 

    All you need is to create a natural habitat for this fish with dense foliage, which will enhance its color! To avoid any unforeseen situation, develop a community equivalent to its size.

    You can add cichlids and other rainbow fish to make your community aesthetic. 

    Average size: 3-4 inches

    Tank Size: 40 gallons (150 liters)

    Care level: Beginner

    Compatibility: House with peaceful freshwater bodies

    8. Betta (Betta Splendens)

    Betta is an eye-catching fish due to its beautiful patterns and colors. Although female bettas are charming, male bettas are distinctively beautiful. Therefore, you will find them in different shades of red and blue. 

    Male bettas are aggressive, so it’s best to keep them alone. However, you can house female bettas in a group. 

    Average size: 3 inches

    Tank Size: 5 gallons (18.9 liters)

    Care level: Beginner

    Compatibility: Keep male bettas alone

    9. Bluefin Notho (Nothobranchius Rachovii)

    The bluefin Notho got this place on the list due to its vibrant red-colored body with turquoise speckles. It is going to bring a new life to your freshwater community. 

    You can keep it with a peaceful community of fish; however, I recommend you house one male Notho in a group of 3-5 females. Ensure that tank has hiding spots and plants. 

    Average size: 2-2.5 inches

    Tank Size: 10 gallons (38 liters)

    Care level: Beginner

    Compatibility: Keep with a peaceful community

    10. Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon Axelrodi)

    The cardinal tetra is a nano fish that features neon and shimmering red strips, extending from its eyes to the caudal fin. It creates a mesmerizing red effect when it swims around.

    If you want to make your community vibrant and colorful, it’s time to add this active and peaceful small fish to the freshwater tank. 

    Average size: 2 inches

    Tank Size: 15 gallons (56 liters)

    Care level: Beginner

    Compatibility: Keep with a peaceful community

    11. Cherry Barb (Puntius Titteya)

    fishes

    If you want to add cuteness to your freshwater tank, Cherry barb is the one! Unfortunately, they are one of the most underrated fish in terms of beauty. Their beautiful name is due to the dark red color of their body. 

    Cherry barbs are peaceful fish, and one can house them with other peace-loving fish. However, male barbs turn aggressive when they tend to breed. Therefore, one male in a group of two females is ideal.

    Average size: 2 inches

    Tank Size: 20 gallons (75 liters)

    Care level: Beginner

    Compatibility: Maintain a peaceful community

    12. Discus (Symphysodon Discus)

    Discus fish are dazzlingly colored which attract the aquarists towards themselves. They feature diverse patterns on their body and possess unique red irises. 

    However, they require a perfect environment and pH in the range of 5 to 7. They have eating requirements for live food such as worms and shrimp.  

    Average size: 6.5-8 inches

    Tank Size: 30 gallons (113 liters)

    Care level: Expert

    Compatibility: incredibly compatible with other fish

    13. Jewel Cichlid (Hemichromis Bimaculatus)

    If you observe jewel cichlids swimming, you are definitely going to enjoy it. The vibrant colors of their body produce a glimmering effect.

    These gorgeous fresh bodies are available in various colors, but red is dominant. The red color of their body with white spots makes them unique. 

    However, they are aggressive fish and are known for killing every fish on their way. Thus, avoid keeping them in community tanks. 

    Average size: 5.5-6 inches

    Tank Size: 30 gallons (113 liters)

    Care level: Intermediate

    Compatibility: Keep in a species-only tank

    14. Jaguar Cichlid (Parachromis Managuensis)

    Jaguar cichlids have a body like an actual jaguar, yellow with black and brown spots. They have a large elongated body and a large mouth with visible teeth. Jaguar’s wild look makes them the most astounding pick for an aquarium. 

    To house these, you will need a big size water tank. These cichlids are highly aggressive; therefore, keep them same-sized cichlids.

    Average size: 12-14 inches

    Tank Size: 100 gallons (379 liters)

    Care level: Expert

    Compatibility: Aggressive

    15. Harlequin Rasboras (Trigonostigma Heteromorpha)

    Harlequin Rasboras are beautiful and cute freshwater fish charming to the eyes. Their body has a base of light pinkish color with a black patch originating from their dorsal fin to the tail. 

    Rasboras are playful and active fish that perfectly fit a peaceful community. It is an easy task to take care of them; that is the cherry on the cake.

    To enjoy their swimming, ensure that your tank has a dense plantation. 

    Average size: 2 inches

    Tank Size: 20 gallons (75 liters)

    Care level: Beginner

    Compatibility: Excellent

    16. Fancy Guppy (Poecilia Reticulata)

    Fancy guppies are highly popular and easily approachable. They are easy to breed and are available in elegant color patterns. They have a long, thin body and fan-like caudal fin.  

    Guppies are peaceful fish and have no specific tank requirement. Thus, you can keep them in any tank.

    Average size: 2 inches

    Tank Size: 5 gallons (19 liters)

    Care level: Beginner

    Compatibility: Highly compatible

    17.  Duboisi Cichlid (Tropheus Duboisi)

    Dubois Cichlids are unique in the way that they change their color with age. Their body features a black base with white dots when they are young.

    However, white dots disappear with age, and yellow bands on the body develop. 

    Although they are flexible with water parameters but aggressive in temperament, you can house them with other semi-aggressive species, but it needs expert care.

    Average size: 4-5 inches

    Tank Size: 55 gallons (208 liters)

    Care level: Expert

    Compatibility: keep with semi-aggressive species

    18. Celestial Pearl Danio (Danio Margaritatus)

    Celestial Pearl is a fascinating small fish with a dark green body with white spots and a reddish body. They have a calm and peaceful nature which makes them my personal favorite. 

    It is easy to keep them due to low maintenance. All you have to do is to put live plants in your freshwater aquarium and observe the strange positions they take before scurrying in and out of the plants. 

    Average size: 1 inch

    Tank Size: 10 gallons (38 liters)

    Care level: Beginner

    Compatibility: Prefers to live in a group

    19. Salvini Cichlid (Cichlasoma Salvini)

    Salvini cichlids are beautiful fish with a unique look. Their body is oval-shaped with a golden-yellow color. The pointed snout and two patterned black lines at their side make them stand out. Their body is packed in spots that glimmer when they swim.  

    Salvini Cichlids require an aquarium that is near to their natural habitat. Thus, add plants to your tank with driftwood.

    They are aggressive towards others. However, they are not much aggressive to other Salvini cichlids. Therefore, you can keep one male in a group of females. 

    Average size: 6-8 inches

    Tank Size: 55 gallons (210 liters)

    Care level: Intermediate

    Compatibility: Keep with same-sized or with same species

    20. Redhead Cichlid (Vieja Melanura)

    Redhead cichlids are large fish that are available in the most beautiful colors. They have a thick oval-shaped body that grows up to 16 inches. They feature diverse shades of blues, oranges, pinks, and green. 

    The temperament of these cichlids is mildly aggressive. They require natural habitat, so add driftwood, rocks, and plants to your aquarium. 

    Average size: 14-16 inches

    Tank Size: 55 gallons (210 liters)

    Care level: Expert

    Compatibility: Keep one male or one pair of it with calm fish

    21. Red Shoulder Dwarf Cichlid (Apistogramma Macmasteri)

    The red shoulder dwarf cichlids are well known for their mesmerizing vibrant red and blue colors. Male cichlids are more colorful and dynamic compared to female cichlids.

    Adult males have long fins and squared-off tails with red coloration making them aesthetic. Cichlids enjoy themselves a lot when they are in a group. They will need driftwood, rocks, and caves in their environment. 

    Average size: 2 inches

    Tank Size: 30 gallons (113 liters)

    Care level: Beginner

    Compatibility: Semi Aggressive when spawning

    22. Rainbow Kribensis (Pelvicachromis Pulcher)

    Rainbow Kribensis fish have an appealing abdomen that is cherry red. They have dark stripes on their entire body and alluring eye spots in golden color on their fins. These beautiful colors have got this species their name.

    They are peaceful and loving species that are a perfect fit for the community tank. However, the tank must have hiding spots and plants in it.

    Average size: 3-4 inches

    Tank Size: 20 gallons (75 liters)

    Care level: Beginner

    Compatibility: Peaceful community fish

    23. Pearl Gourami (Trichopodus Leerii)

    When you look at this beautiful creation, you will see its pearly appearance. Pearl gouramis have a mosaic outlook that is brownish-orange in color covered by a pearl-like pattern.

    The male gouramis have a bright orange throat that gets intense during breeding. Their fancy outlook makes them vulnerable, so keep them in the peaceful community tank. 

    Average size: 4-5 inches

    Tank Size: 30 gallons (113 liters)

    Care level: Beginner

    Compatibility: Peaceful community fish

    24. Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara sp.)

    Peacock cichlids vary depending on their colors, such as blue peacock cichlids, dragon blood peacock cichlids, etc. They are long fish with large fins and can grow up to 6 inches. 

    Males peacock cichlids are semi-aggressive, so you should keep one male cichlid in a group of 3 females. Their water tank must have hiding spots. 

    Average size: 4-6 inches

    Tank Size: 55 gallons (210 liters)

    Care level: Intermediate

    Compatibility: Keep with equally sized community

    Final Words

    We have summed up freshwater beauties with a brief guide on how to take care of them properly. All you have to do now is shortlist your favorites from the list and add them to your aquarium.

    We hope this will assist you in making the right choice and fulfill your quest to know about colorful freshwater bodies. 


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